Article - What is a Firewall?

protect yourself: firewalls and anti virus software

"A Firewall is the first piece of software you should install,
the second being Anti Virus protection." Peter Dillon, CTO

Safe Surfing

Before you get going on the Internet you'll want to install firewall and antivirus software to keep your computer safe. Using a computer already connected to the Internet, you can download free firewall and free antivirus software ( See below for list of free software ).

Firewalls

A Firewall is software or hardware that helps prevents intruders from accessing your computer/network. It protects your computer so you don't get hacked causing downtime for your company and lots of frustration. Without a firewall hackers can use automated attacks to find security problems with your computer or network then use these venerabilities to load viri, root kits and mess your computer up BAD.

Ports are communication channels used to transfer information and communicate with the outside world. There are many ports open on your computer. For example your Web browser uses port 80 to send and receive information related to http protocol. Your computer uses port 25 for E-mail, port 21 for FTP etc. A firewall locks up all the ports/channels that are not used which protects your computer from receiving requests or hacks on those ports. It also monitor's open ports for any suspicious activity. Make sure you install a firewall to protect your computer/network from being attacked.

Firewalls also watch over which programs on your computer are using which ports, they allow access to default programs ( e.g. your Web browser, E-mail program ). If you install software that's not on the default list your firewall may ask permission to grant access to the port/channel needed.

AV Software

Firewall is the first piece of software you should install, the second being Anti Virus (AV) protection. AV software constantly scans and protects your computer from infections, viri, and malware. When your AV software finds an infection it typically purges the offensive file from your hard drive. Most AV software will inform you if a problem occurs and ask you to confirm the action required to clean out the infection. AV software must stay up to date to be effective. Make sure your virus definitions are set to automatically update so your computer can stay healthy.

There are a number of free Anti Virus applications out there. AVG and Comodo are in my opinion the two best free AV applications out there! Also check out Norton's 360 Internet Security - it includes firewall, antivirus, backup and malware protection.

Links

AVG http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage
Comodo AV http://personalfirewall.comodo.com/free-download.html
virus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_virus
malware http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malware
firewall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firewall_(computing)
anti-virus  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antivirus_software
port http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_port_(software)
protocol http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_protocol
rootkit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rootkit

Remember no combination of Firewall and Anti Virus software will never give you 100% complete protection but they will significantly reduce the chances of infection and help you recover if you get attacked.

Contact us today to get your computer/network protected!